The Zimbabwe Congress Trade Union (ZCTU) is headed for a clash with police after banning the labour body’s planned demonstrations against the 2% tax, tomorrow, saying it could lead to a fresh cholera outbreak.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA / KUDZAI MUCHENJEKWA
The statement by police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi came after ZCTU threatened to go ahead with the demonstrations which the labour body said would completely shut down industry to force government to reverse the 2% tax on money transfers.
Nyathi said the police could not allow the demonstration to go ahead because of a directive by the ministries of Health and Local Government to ban public gatherings in the central business district, following a cholera outbreak that has so far killed 49 people and left over 10 000 needing treatment.
“Therefore, the organisers of the intended demonstrations by ZCTU and its affiliates should take note of the government’s directive, particularly the movement of large numbers of people from one point to another which includes cholera epicentres,” Nyathi said.
The police said ZCTU would be held accountable if the situation turned “nasty”.
“Members of the public are accordingly warned that if anything turns nasty, those organising the demonstrations will be held responsible, especially with regards to maintenance of law and order,” Nyathi said.
But ZCTU secretary-general, Japhet Moyo accused the police of becoming political appendages, who applied the law selectively and, therefore, did not deserve to be taken seriously.
“We have seen other organisations doing public gatherings, just two weeks ago Zanu PF had a district meeting at Stodart netball grounds in Mbare, we have seen churches gathering everyday and soccer matches that are happening, why does it become an issue when it’s ZCTU, is this cholera selective?” he queried.
Moyo said because the police were yet to communicate directly with his office, the labour body will not change its plans and if it was to be delivered, this would be challenged.
Earlier, ZCTU president Peter Mutasa, told the media they were confident the demonstrations would be successful and could be pushed beyond tomorrow if government fails to take heed.
“If they don’t listen, we are going to call citizens to make sure that we have continuous demonstrations to just shut down the country, we have not completely called for a shut down on Thursday, but if they don’t listen, we will call for a complete shutdown. There is no other option but civil disobedience. We can lock this country slowly but surely. We are very confident because if they don’t change, things are going to get worse,” Mutasa said.
In an unapologetic stance President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week said the new tax measures would not be reversed as they were necessary pain to the people for the sake of economic turnaround.
ZCTU said it was not amused by Mnangagwa’s stance, accusing him of following the footsteps of his predecessor, former President Robert Mugabe.
“Mnangagwa is taking from his creator Mugabe. If you look at the process of policy making, this arbitrary action has no place in modern economies and modern states,” Mutasa said.
“In modern states the government should start with the green paper and white paper and invite stakeholders for their input. Had they done this with the monetary policy, we would not be where we are. Nothing has changed and he has failed dismally, but he has the chance to redeem himself and he can do this by removing this policy.”